Sunday, June 30, 2013

Picture Book Linky Party

I'm joining with DeAnne to share my favorite picture books to teach math concepts...
Inch by Inch by Leo Leoni- I read this book to my students when I am transitioning from measuring using non-standard units to introducing measurement using inches.  We discuss why the inch worm is might be called an inch, and how so on.  I love the illustrations am a huge fan of Leo Leoni so its a win win!

Tally O'Malley by Stuart J Murphy a few years ago one of my students put this book on her reading log and I asked her to bring it in.  I fell in love and ordered my copy ASAP.  It is perfect for introducing tallies to kids! 

Even Steven and Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaldi  I think I got the name if this book from Cara Carroll over on  The First Grade Parade.  My kids loved it and I felt is was a wonderful way to introduce and practice evens and odds.  

I use all of Welcome Books Money Matters books before introducing each coin.  The kids really enjoy them and they are a favorite during read to self once I put them in our class library.  I also use the Coin Counting Book.  

So those are my top three books, or at least the few that I can remember right now.  I have a whole basket full of picture books and such that I use during my math lessons.  A couple weeks ago Reagan Tunstall posted pictures of her collection and there were so many good books I had to put in my cart!  So I agree with DeAnne about my amazon cart getting full once I read other people's suggestions.  


The Next Step Chapter 2

Finally got my answers together for the next chapter.  I think this is
such an important chapter because it deals so much with running
records which are my favorite way to get information on my students. 

Things to Consider:
•    What will I use for my assessments?
At the beginning of the year I do the following assessments to help me place my students in guided reading groups. 
1.   Phono-Graphix assessments, this includes 4 separate tests which give me a really good idea of how my students are at blending, segmenting and manipulating sounds.  It also gives me a clear picture of what letter sounds they know. 
2.  Running Records (last year I used Treasures Benchmark books but I plan to use Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment)
3.  IRI from Treasure
4.  Sight Word Fluency Assessments (From Treasures)
5.  Treasures Placement Test
6.  Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory
•    Do you need to practice taking running records?
Though I have a lot of practice taking running records I still need to practice coding the correctly. 
•    When you finish your assessments, how will you use that information to group your students?
After I finish my assessments I have to input all my data into an excel spreadsheet and send it to my principal and resource team.  I then group my students based on their instructional reading level and use the other information to make instructional decisions for our first lessons.  I also have a very good idea of my student’s strengths and areas of weakness.  Early in the school year I meet with my principal and resource team to discuss how I have grouped them and what students should receive extra support. Though getting all the data put together and input is time consuming it is very beneficial to have other people look at it in case I missed something.    
•    Will you use comprehension interviews?  If not, then how will your check for understanding?
Since comprehension interviews are intended for fluent readers I will not be using them to make my groups.  I plan to use the questions that come with the benchmark books. 
•    How often will you do running records on your students?
I do running records on my students once every two weeks.  I do these during my guided reading lessons while a student is reading to me from their leveled reader.  I do running records on benchmark passages at the end of each quarter. 
Teacher Questions from Jan Richardson
•    What assessments should I use?
•      Running Records with Comprehension Questions
•      Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory
•      Sight Word Fluency
•      Phono-Graphix Assessment
•      Dictated sentences
•    Why should I take a running record?
Running Records are extremely important to me because they help me get a good idea of what my strategies and skills my students are using.  In the beginning of the year it helps me form my groups and during the year the information I gather is what I use to pick our next book and create my lesson plans.   
•    Should I introduce the text used for an assessment?
Yes the introduction should be brief and only state the title and main idea of the story.  Treasures benchmark books come with the introduction.  I find this very helpful. 

•    Should the student read the text silently first?
Not for a running record, since we get our information from the children’s errors a silent reading won’t help us understand their thinking.  Cold reads are best for running records.   
•    What if the student asks for help?
When my students ask for help I tell them to try their best, I encourage them to use the strategies they’ve learn to attempt the word.  I really don’t like it when they skip words because I get no idea of what’s going on in their heads when they read.  (Does that make sense?  I’m not sure I explained it correctly) 
•    How do I assess comprehension?
I assess my student’s comprehension by asking them any questions that come with the story.  Sometime around November or December I begin using a graphic organizer to ask them questions, i.e beginning, middle and end or main idea and supporting detail.  I write down their answers as they tell them to me. 

•    How do I know when to move a student to a higher level guided reading group?

I can normally tell during our lessons because they are moving through the text easily and with few mistakes.  When I notice this I either ask them to come to the next levels lesson, privately do a lesson with them on the next group level’s book or do some running records on higher level books.  It all depends on how much time I have.  Following Jan’s lesson formats though my kids normally move up in book levels together and don’t shift groups more than four to five times year.  

Don't forget to link up and share your answers with Mary at Sharing Kindergarten and look on Freebie-lious for Chapter 3's questions.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Next Step Chapter 1

Things to Think About: 
  • How do you introduce your read alouds, shared reading, and independent reading?
    • Read alouds are my favorite!  I introduce them to my kids first thing!  Once the whole class has arrived begin my school year by reading a book to them.  This year I think we read You're FINALLY Here!  The kids loved it!  I bring them over to my carpet and read to them several times during the day.  
    • Last year I introduced independent reading on the first day in the Daily 5 format.  I explain the best way to become a better reader is to read more.  One thing that has really helped me is giving my kids bubble gum while they read independently.  They love it!  I have them place it in a tissue as soon as I notice they are no longer reading.  We build stamina for weeks and I display a graph outside our door so the whole school can see how we're doing.  I also have my principal and other teacher pop in to see and comment on our progress. 
    • I normally introduce shared reading with a big book the 2nd week of school.  I am currently reading Growing Readers by Kathy Collins and realize I need to do a better job of this!  
  • Do you have your schedule set?  Do you set your literacy block up in a workshop format?  What will your RW block look like?
    • Not yet, though I do know somethings that never change.  In first grade the kids come in between 8-8:20. First period begins at 8:25.  We have recess morning from 10:10-10:25 and lunch/recess from 11:50-12:50.  I just emailed my request to my principal this morning requesting I have no specials until after lunch.  Let's hope it works out for me! 
    • For the last two years I have followed the Daily 5 management system and really liked it... but for the upcoming school year I really want to use Kathy Collin's Reading Workshop approach.  
    • I am still in the early stages of planning but I would like to have reading workshop in the morning from 8:45-9:45 and then run my own version of Daily 5 from 10:30 -11:30.  For my D5 options I would have Work on Writing, Word Work, Listen to Reading and a poetry station. Has anyone done something similar? 
  • What activities do you have your students do for the first 6 weeks to teach independence? Literacy  Work Stations? Daily 5? Other?
    • For my reading workshop I plan to follow Kathy's suggest format so the kids will be reading!
    • For my modified D5 I will introduce different activities one at a time and help the kids build stamina.  I really like The Daily 5 for Dummies plans for this!  It works! 
  • Readers Notebooks:  How will you use these?  What will you use for this?
    • Good question!  I'm still not sure!  Jan doesn't really give suggestions for 1st graders so I am at a loss.  Are they necessary for the primary grades?  I use a guided reading notebook in my lessons and for now unless I find a good reason to change I will keep it this way for next year.
    • I use spirals for my guided reading notebooks. 
Questions Teachers Ask:
  • How do I get everything done in the allotted time?
    • Well first I had to get rid of some of the time wasters!  I use to eat snack when my kids ate and try and check email etc.  Now I try use this as story time and read to them.  I also cut my snack time down to 10 minutes.  Before we have 15 minutes for snack and a 25 minute morning recess.  Now I do 10 for snack and 15 for morning recess.  
    • Prep the night before!  Have all your materials ready so you don't waste time looking for things.
    • Prioritize what is really important and what doesn't need to be covered or addressed at that time.
    • Most importantly though I would say, take time in the beginning of the year to teach your procedures and routines correctly so you don't waste time waiting and reminding the rest of the year.
  • How can I keep the noise level in my classroom within reasonable limits during GR?
    • Make sure the kids know and understand why its important.
    • Spread children out so they aren't on top of each other.
  • How can I keep my students from interrupting me when I am with a small group.
    • I have tried several different things!  The ones that work best have been giving them a chance to use the bathroom and get drink in between rounds, build in buffer time before mini lessons and ignoring them when they come up to my table.
  • How do I know children are reading their self selected books?
    • I've always just trusted my kids.  I also take a few minutes while my group is working on something to look around and see who's reading.  In first grade you can typically hear them or see their lips moving.  That being said I do hope to do better next year...
    • Next year I will be having share time after independent reading.  They can share something they read with a partner.  I am also going to try and do Status of the Class check-ins more often.
If you're reading this and have suggestions on how to do Reading Workshop and modified D5 please let me know!  Also be sure to check out the ladies at Freebie-licous!  


School's Out!!

I haven't blogged in oh let's see 5 months and 19 days, so I would indeed consider that failure.  Or perhaps not so much since I wasn't a regular poster before?  In case you're wondering what I have been up to you just check out my Instagram account.  You can catch up on my kids and things I've done in class.  I love Teacher Talk Tuesdays don't you?  School end for my firsties last Friday. I was so sad to see my crew go.  Thankfully my teammate had the great foresight to get 4 of us tickets to see NKOTB, B2M and 98 Degrees that night and I wasn't sad for too long!  I got to tell you if you have the chance to see this show its amazing!!! Sadly this week I am back to going to school to clean up and pack my room up, though I am confident today will be my last day!

Since my last post was about New Year's Resolutions it seems fitting that today's be about...  My Summer To Do List and boy do I have a lot planned for the next 2 months.

Book Studies:

  • Growing Readers (with my coworker Sharon)
  • Reading with Meaning (with Sharon)
  • The Next Step in Guided Reading (with my schools 1st-4th team and on Freebie-licious)
Book Clubs:  This will be my third summer offering summer book clubs for the students or HR.  This year we will have two groups.  Basement Bookworms meet once a week for an hour in the basement of the church.  
  • Grades 2&3
  • Grades 4&5
Books to Read:
  • Finish Reading Reflex (required school reading)
  • Finish The Honest Toddlers Guide to Parenting
  • The Art of Teaching Reading
  • Lemonade Wars (with my 8 year old)
  • From the Mixed Up Files... (for our summer book club)
  • Stink (for our summer book club)
  • Fourth Grade Rats (summer book club)
  • Words Their Way (online training)
Class Organization:
  • Level Classroom Library
  • Declutter and organize all my binders
I'll throw in some fun non-school related fun stuff as well!

Fun Stuff
  • Go to the pool often
  • Teach Koey to swim
  • Participate in the ROC race in Baltimore
  • Take kids to the zoo
  • Go to the beach
I promise to be back later with my response to Freebie-licious's Chapter 1 post!